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If everyone is turning cynical by finishing a PhD that practically cheers me for walking out on one...
by Nomad on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 07:50:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to cheer if you quit.

My father-in-law, the SO, and twelve or so friends have a Ph.d.  I was working towards a Ph.d., had to have one to work in the field I was interested in, when I got waylaid by circumstances, discovered over-riding fascination with computers, and never went back.  Big Mistake.  My life would have been a damn sight easier, I'd avoided a lot of pointless hassles and conflicts, if I'd had a "union card."

So my advice is: finish.  Slog on through and get it.  It won't hurt and it WILL help.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 10:57:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately the decision has already been made. It's almost nine months ago that I left South Africa and abandoned the PhD there. And in honesty, this still feels as the right decision.

The one thing regrettable of the entire PhD period is actually not having finished one. There may be some developments still, there may be not. It's too early to say anything.

by Nomad on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 06:24:50 AM EST
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This is what I am trying to do, finish the damn thing (and then be a high school teacher ;) )

I actually have published quite a bit - have quite q few citations and such - and would easily (I think) get a postdoc or something like that, but I cant take this for much longer.

The ability to manage my time is good. The traveling is very good (conferences). I cannot complain about the workload ;)

But I simply cant stand the closeness, the loneliness (I and do have loads of contacts), the confidentiality, the discussions about intelectual ownership, the lack of technical competence, the egos and the shear lack of moral behaviour.

Having worked in IT in the past (including very big banks), I can easily say that even commercial IT is much more open in terms of idea exchange and good, old sharing of ideas, problems and solutions.

I spend part of my time doing open source, just to be able to work in something that involves a community that, with all its problems, still deserves to be labeled as a community.

by t-------------- on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 06:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Might consider burn-out.  This goes a bit over the top but it might put at least some of what you're experiencing in perspective.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 02:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, been there. Still there, but every day much better.

Apart from family and friends, from an intellectual perspective found salvation in art and programming. The PhD is something I do after coding (sometimes I even code for the PhD ;) ) and learning music and drawing. Also doing a nice course in epistemology in order to be able to synthesize these ideas.

But have no doubt, this was a personal reaction to what I describe above.

by t-------------- on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 03:39:10 PM EST
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No, actually finishing the PhD diminishes the personal impact of the inevitably developed cynicism. Because you have something to show for your time spent in academia.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 07:30:24 AM EST
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